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Still Wakes the Deep release date, trailers, gameplay, and latest news

The Still Wakes the Deep release date has passed, and we’ve got all the story and gameplay details for The Chinese Room’s North Sea horror.

An off-shore oil rig looms out of the sea mist, a setting that we'll become acquainted with following the Still Wakes the Deep release date.

When was the Still Wakes the Deep release date? The Chinese Room returns to its horror roots, and this time around, we’re stranded aboard an off-shore oil rig in the middle of the North Sea – and we’re not alone. According to associate art director Laura Dodds, Still Wakes the Deep is what would happen if “Stanley Kubrick lost his mind shooting a documentary aboard an oil rig.” Sold yet? So are we.

Given The Chinese Room’s track record with cult classics like Dear Esther and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, Still Wakes the Deep has garnered a reputation as 2024’s sleeper hit horror game. PCGamesN’s Nat Smith says it “hits many of the same notes of capitalist horror as Ridley Scott’s Alien” in our Still Wakes the Deep review, which plumbs the depths of this “authentic Scottish drama”. That said, if you’d prefer a surface level appraisal before you take the plunge, we’ve got all the story and gameplay details following the Still Wakes the Deep release date below.

Still Wakes the Deep release date: An interior office cluttered with discarded strings of paper party rings and fairy lights, the reflection of the ocean painting shadows and light across the walls.

Still Wakes the Deep release date

Still Wakes the Deep released on Tuesday, June 18, 2024. Xbox and The Chinese Room announced the release date during the Future Games Show Spring Showcase 2024.

Still Wakes the Deep is on Game Pass and Steam. It’s also available on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S for console users.

In a development diary released in October 2023, audio director Daan Hendriks assured that the studio was “working hard towards our beta milestone, which involves us reaching a ‘content complete’ state.”

QA tester Seb Axel also confirmed the team shifted focus to the console version as they prepared for certification. “We are lucky to have the PC version in a really good spot and have already done plenty of console testing to ensure the experience is working as it should,” Axel said.

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Still Wakes the Deep trailers

We got our first glimpse of Still Wakes the Deep during the Xbox Games Showcase back in June 2023. The announcement trailer shows off striking visuals of the Beira D oil rig wreathed in sea mist as the North Sea churns below. We also get a taste of Still Wakes the Deep’s holistic first-person perspective as Caz explores the rig’s interior, navigating blood-streaked corridors, tight ledges, and broken ladders. These snippets of gameplay are accompanied by a haunting performance of a Fath Mo Mhulaid a Bhith Ann, a Gaelic folk song performed by Maggie MacInnes. The trailer culminates in Caz frantically spinning a hatch wheel closed, cut short by an inhuman screech.

The Chinese Room treated us to more moment-to-moment gameplay in a first look during the Xbox Partner Preview. This involves a nail-biting sequence as Caz navigates a collapsing gangway suspended over the ocean to survey the rig’s drill – which appears to have been disabled by a collection of strange tendrils. The trailer cuts to Caz picking his way around a flooded industrial room, squeezing through tight spaces and ducking beneath the water as a voice nearby whimpers and screams. As Caz ventures down a hatch, the owner of the voice slams it shut, plunging him into darkness.

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Still Wakes the Deep story

The spooky story game takes place on a North Sea oil rig just off the coast of Scotland. We assume the role of Caz McCleary, a working-class, Glaswegian ex-boxer. As one of the few surviving Beira D rig workers, he must survive the icy waters and the supernatural creature that’s slithered its way on board in order to see his family again. The premise already puts us in mind of Amnesia The Bunker – a fitting comparison, given The Chinese Room’s own history with the series as the studio behind Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs.

“There are strong themes related to family woven into the game’s narrative,” audio director Daan Hendriks confirms. Caz has taken up his post at the oil rig as a means of running away from his problems, though it looks like they’re due to catch up to him while he’s busy trying to outrun the transformed crewmates on his heels.

Technical director Nick Slaven revealed Still Wakes the Deep’s mission scripting, which is laid out in a flow chart structure of sequential events via Inkle’s narrative scripting language, Ink. The Chinese Room has also granted budding programmers access to the InkPotDemo project from GitHub, which Slaven describes as “a very flexible and powerful system in which we can tell stories.”

A Still Wakes the Deep free Steam teaser demo was also available before release. Oil Strike ’75 is a retro-style platformer that takes a sinister turn and gives us several clues about the history of the Beira D oil rig and the events leading up to the events of Still Wakes the Deep itself.

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Still Wakes the Deep gameplay

Still Wakes the Deep promises to offer more of the gameplay we’ve come to expect from The Chinese Room: a first-person narrative experience with light puzzle solving and plenty of unnerving encounters. There are no weapons or special powers at Caz’s disposal; players must use their “wits and determination” to see the story through to the end.

According to senior marketing executive Marijam Didžgalvytė, The Chinese Room was “inspired by titans like Kubrick, Loach, and Dargento,” as well as 1970s advertising and interior design. This well-defined aesthetic goes hand in hand with the fidelity of Unreal Engine 5, which includes real-time lighting and a VFX system that generates the weather effects necessary to fully capture the experience of being trapped in the middle of the North Sea.

Still Wakes the Deep release date: Protagonist Caz stumbles along a gangway in the under-rig, throwing his hands up for balance.

Scotland itself is a major inspiration for Still Wakes the Deep. Creative director John McCormack hails from Scotland, so it stands to reason that his own experience has been a huge influence on Still Wakes the Deep’s development.  The team has also taken inspiration from Bill Forsyth’s Scottish comedy-drama Local Hero and Andrey Zyagintsev’s The Return in their pursuit to capture the melancholic beauty of dreich. The unnervingly vibrant lighting of Dario Argento’s Suspiria serves as the finishing touches as the psychological horror takes hold.

Caz’s fight for survival extends across the entirety of the oil rig, from the main deck to the flare stack and derrick. “We included many scenes where you return to previous areas… but they’ve changed – either through flooding or destruction,” lead designer Rob McLachlan says, explaining this was initially a cost-cutting measure that backfired. We can expect environments to evolve dramatically as we revisit them, and their destruction might well open new areas to explore in the latter hours of the game.

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We got a more in-depth look at the Beira D’s construction in ‘The Blueprints of the Beira D’, the Still Wakes the Deep mini-documentary that premiered during IGN Fan Fest. “It is essentially one big game level,” McLachlan says, revealing that the team took inspiration from archived oil rig blueprints in a clear bid for realism. McLachlan describes Caz’s descent through the legs of the rig into the pontoons below the ocean’s surface as an example of how Still Wakes the Deep taps into latent human fears, including submechanophobia and thalassophobia.

Of course, the horror extends beyond the claustrophobic spaces of the rig itself. Beyond its industrial walls, the choppy waters of the North Sea continue to rage – but it’s not just moody set dressing. “It’s a deadly obstacle the player may have to navigate and survive,” programmer Joe Wheater says.

One of the industrial corridors of the Beira D oil rig, warped by supernatural means and emanating an eerie golden light.

The Chinese Room has also confirmed their collaboration with composer Jason Graves, whose extensive work on Dead Space, Until Dawn, and the Dark Pictures Anthology will surely help to bring Still Wakes the Deep’s soundscape to new and terrifying heights. “[Jason] has combined unconventional, hand-built sound sources with traditional instruments to create a haunting atmosphere that we feel complements this game’s narrative perfectly,” Hendriks says.

Horror newbies have some idea of just how scary Still Wakes the Deep is likely to get thanks to QA tester Seb Axel. “Even now, I get caught out by the occasional scary moment, and I’ve played it hundreds of times. One of our external QA couldn’t deal with it and had to leave the project because they were so scared,” Axel teases. Thankfully, The Chinese Room has confirmed that an alternate Story Mode is available for players who’d rather put the fear of death and dismemberment to one side to experience the story and atmosphere fully.

An amalgamation of limbs and bodies trapped in a film of flesh and skin, in a surreal tableau that doesn't resemble reality.

Now that you’re all prepped for what awaits you in Still Wakes the Deep, check out some of the best indie games to tide you over after the credits roll. We’ve also got recommendations for some of the best single-player games across all genres, from oceanic survival games to sci-fi horror.